Links 11/25/2020

Milestone for Notre-Dame as fire-damaged scaffolding cleared Agence France Presse

Cygnet failure! Hapless rail staff struggle to round up two runaway swans after they land on station platform Daily Mail

Bitcoin finally finds a rationale in doomsday scenarios FT

Stablecoins: risks, potential and regulation (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

What’s next for the Treasury-Fed COVID-19 lending facilities? Brookings Institution

Southwest CEO: “You should fly” Axios (Re Silc).

Qantas boss says passengers will need to be vaccinated for international flights CNN


Doctors say CDC should warn people the side effects from Covid vaccine shots won’t be ‘a walk in the park’ CNBC (Re Silc). If we want to destroy uptake, lots of unexplained and ugly side effects would be the way to go…

The Public’s Willingness to Get a Coronavirus Vaccine Ticks Up Slightly With Promising Developments and Surge in Cases Morning Consult. Averages conceal:

Developing Safe and Effective Covid Vaccines — Operation Warp Speed’s Strategy and Approach Moncef Slaoui and Matthew Hepburn, NEJM

Covid-19 roundup: Russia prices vaccine ‘two or more times cheaper’ than mRNA shots; Sinovac PhIII data expected in early December Endpoints News

AstraZeneca probes ‘mistake’ behind 90% COVID-19 vaccine efficacy Fierce Biotech. So they gave 2,741 test subjects the wrong dose. That’s not a good look.

* * *

A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine for Prevention of Covid-19 NEJM. From the Conclusions: “Postexposure therapy with hydroxychloroquine did not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection or symptomatic Covid-19 in healthy persons exposed to a PCR-positive case patient.”

* * *

The perspective of fluid flow behavior of respiratory droplets and aerosols through the facemasks in context of SARS-CoV-2 Physics of Fluids. From the Abstract: “Key design aspects such as thermal comfort and flow resistance are discussed.”

* * *

Does contact tracing work? Quasi-experimental evidence from an Excel error in England (PDF) CAGE Research Centre. A natural experiment. From the Abstract: “Between September 25 and October 2, 2020, a total of 15,841 COVID-19 cases in England (around 15 to 20% of all cases) were not immediately referred to the contact tracing system due to a data processing error. Case information was truncated from an Excel spreadsheet after the row limit had been reached, which was discovered on October 3. There is substantial variation in the degree to which different parts of England areas were exposed – by chance – to delayed referrals of COVID-19 cases to to the contact tracing system. We show that more affected areas subsequently experienced a drastic rise in new COVID-19 infections and deaths alongside an increase in the positivity rate and the number of test performed, as well as a decline in the performance of the contact tracing system. Conservative estimates suggest that the failure of timely contact tracing due to the data glitch is associated with more than 125,000 additional infections and over 1,500 additional COVID-19- related deaths. Our findings provide strong quasi-experimental evidence for the effectiveness of contact tracing.”

Event-specific interventions to minimize COVID-19 transmission PNAS From the Abtract: “We center our discussion on what we call ‘event R,’ or R, namely the expected number of newly infected individuals at an event due to the attendance of a single infected individual.” In essence, an algo for planners.

Test sensitivity is secondary to frequency and turnaround time for COVID-19 screening Science. From the Abstract: “These results demonstrate that effective screening depends largely on frequency of testing and the speed of reporting, and is only marginally improved by high test sensitivity.”


China’s interest in Pacific trade deal sets stage for new US showdown after Xi Jinping ups the ante South China Morning Post

China debt: Beijing may cut belt and road lending due to domestic pressure, to ensure future of project South China Morning Post. Commentary:

What China’s Tightening Grip on Livestreaming Could Mean for Luxury JIng Daily

How to ‘disappear’ on Happiness Avenue in Beijing BBC

Japan fights COVID-19 in luxurious style with US$9,600 masks Channel News Asia

How climate change, lack of insurance, push farmers out of agribusiness The Rappler


Why the Arab Spring Failed Jacobin


EU Taps Buoyant Demand for Social Bonds With Another Sale Bloomberg

UK facing risk of ‘systemic economic crisis’, official paper says Guardian

France demands digital tax payments from US tech groups FT

France to probe clashes after police cleared out new Paris migrant camp Reuters

For 15 Years Sweden Thought Enemy Submarines Were Invading Its Territory. It Turned Out To Be Herring Farts IFLScience


US doesn’t want guarded border on Ireland – Biden BBC

Biden’s secretary of state pick compared Brexit to ‘a dog being run over by a car’ Independent

Brexit stems from a civil war in capitalism – we are all just collateral damage George Monbiot, Guardian (PD).

Trump Transition

Initial Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccines Will Go To States Based On Population, Not Risk NPR

Pompeo spells out the new normal: All criticism of Israel is ‘antisemitic’ Middle East Eye

Unemployment Scam Using Inmates’ Names Costs California Hundreds of Millions NYT


Computer repairman who claimed he gave Hunter Biden data to Giuliani closes shop as laptop saga gets stranger USA Today

Biden Transition

Key Democrat warns Biden not to nominate Mike Morell as CIA director CNN

Biden’s pick for US spy chief played a central role in Obama’s secretive drone war that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths Business Insider

Biden’s intelligence chief pick promises to ‘speak truth to power’ in shift from Trump era CNN

Investigation into Employee Complaints about Management of U.S. CItizensup and Immigration Services EB-5 Program (PDF) Inspector General, DHS (via). From 2015, still germane: Alejandro Mayorkas is Biden’s nominee for DHS head.

Biden’s foreign policy: the return of American exceptionalism FT

Joe Biden Is Filling His Cabinet With Pro-War Hawks Jacobin

Biden’s Daily Intel Briefings Remind Us That Trump Hardly Bothered With Them HuffPo

Biden Has the Team Obama Always Wanted Foreign Policy. Read all the way to the end.

* * *

Biden tamps down idea of Sanders or Warren in administration Politico

Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary Sets Up Biden to Go Big on Stimulus Bloomberg

Mnuchin Plans to Put $455 Billion Beyond Yellen’s Easy Reach Bloomberg

Immigration, executive action top Biden preview of first 100 days The Hill. Oh.

A Long-Forgotten CIA Document From WikiLeaks Sheds Critical Light on Today’s U.S. Politics and Wars Glenn Greenwald (E. Mayer).

How the US Used Disinformation and the ‘Jakarta Method’ to Change the World CNN

Our Famously Free Press

YouTube temporarily suspends, demonetizes OANN Axios

Democrats in Disarray

How do we avoid future authoritarians? Winning back the working class is key Bernie Sanders, Guardian. The Guardian, not WaPo or the Times?

What Did the Democrats Win? Michael Tomasky, NYRB (Re Silc).

Imperial Collapse Watch

America and Britain are the Big Losers on the World Stage Patrick Coburn, Counterpunch

Class Warfare

The New Money Trust: How Large Money Managers Control Our Economy and What We Can Do About It American Economic Liberties Project

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ambrit

    Enjoy the holidays Lambert!
    Keep that ‘bug out bag’ ready in case you have to “head North” in a hurry.

        1. ambrit

          In an earlier ‘discussion,’ I suggested he look into crossing the border at a forested location, in the literal backwoods.
          This sounds a bit too much like escaped prisoners or refugees sneaking across the Swiss German border during the War.

          1. Wukchumni

            You had to be in country in Switzerland for 24 hours as an escaped POW or else they’d kick you back to the Nazis, so one of the stories in Barry Broadfoot’s masterful oral history: Six War Years involves an escaped Canadian POW who decided that throwing a brick through the largest plate glass window in town would do the trick, landing him in prison for a spell.

            1. ambrit

              Do that here today and you’d end up working on a public private chain gang building the wall around the Manhattan Island Correctional District.

              1. Wukchumni

                You’ll learn so much about Canadian history as an added bonus, I mentioned French-Canadian soldiers from Quebec the other day who didn’t have to go overseas to fight in WW2, and were called ‘Zombies’.

                Would have never heard of them otherwise.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    My Dad was in the Dutch Resistance and even wrote an anti-Nazi play and ended up in Nazi prison, he told me about an episode when the Canadians arrived. He ran up a stairway and there was a Canadian soldier sitting next to a window with a rifle, he had one hand on a wine bottle and the other down the front of the dress of the Dutch girl sitting in his lap, War is Hell!

  2. zagonostra

    >How do we avoid future authoritarians? Winning back the working class is key Bernie Sanders, Guardian.

    First of all, I’m concerned about the current “authoritarians.” A euphemism, like “authoritarian” to designate Trump as a member of a class and inferring that Biden is not a member of that same class is specious. The ruling elites have stomped their iron heel (Jack London) on the face of Bernie and his supporters. I’m sorry, but this piece by Bernie is pablum (sorry because I was a supporter, believed in him – my bad – and donated to his campaign).

    As to the question that he posits of “whose side they are on,” he fails the to properly define the “sides” in classical class analysis terms. Trump is bad, just doesn’t cut it and putting “deep state” in quotation marks as if it does not exist is naive at best and disingenuous at worst.

    How to win elections is to fight like your life depended on it…which he did not.

    Democrats’ job during the first 100 days of the Biden administration is to make it absolutely clear whose side they are on, and who is on the other side. That’s not only good public policy to strengthen our country. It’s how to win elections in the future.

    1. Randy G

      Zagnostra — You are not alone in supporting Sanders, giving campaign contributions, and now feeling buyer’s remorse at his enfeebled efforts to rise to the occasion.

      His pathetic campaigning for the ‘great’ Joe Biden was an embarrassing spectacle — best avoided unless you enjoy being mocked.

      “How to win elections is to fight like your life depended on it…which he did not.”

      He should have fought as if his SUPPORTER’S lives depended on it — because they did. He abandoned them to maintain his own insider access and credibility.

      Sanders will be fine, still quite wealthy, still welcome in Washington as a ’potty-trained’ lefty, a living fossil of the FDR era. The neoliberals, of course, have buried that era under a landfill of toxic greed.

      Sanders has depleted his credibility — and his current ‘prattling on’ is just so much hot air. To the Democratic Party “elites”, he is just a dead bug spattered on their windshield.

      We needed someone with just a shred of the spirit and integrity of a Eugene Debs, a Mandela or a Frederick Douglas to challenge our accelerating decay — and we got the ‘cowardly lion’ instead. Too late to find his courage now.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yes, he disappointed, but look at the competition. And whoever does deliver will have built on what Sanders started in 2016.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yep, another day, another “AOC Chastizes Biden!” headline.

            I hear alot about how “Trump voters are delusional!” but I think the clinical human delusion packed into the “we’ll hold their feet to the fire after the election!” crowd is its perfect analog. It’s the day after, folks, time to face up to whom you slept with when you (supposedly) voted on Nov.3.

            Meantime when they tell you exactly who they are it’s best to believe them.

            The Joe had his “foreign policy” cotillion yesterday, where he thundered “No More America First Policy!”. So let me translate that for you: he was just missing the last letters “ns”. “No More Americans First”.

            Curious minds may wonder who does get to be first? Here, The Joe’s words, actions, votes, and personal investments over a glorious 47 years provide the answer: the working class of the People’s Republic of China. Sorry to burst any bubbles folks, but it’s about Suzhou, not Scranton, with the profits going to the capitol city of The Joe’s actual constituency in Davos. Yet another “conspiracy theory” going straight to the conspiracy fact file.

            And the Tony Blanken choice is amusing, I’m looking forward to confirmation hearings when scorned and angry Repubs open the moveable feast of Hunter’s laptop (where Tony features prominently) and ask “Mr. Blanken on August 15, 2015 you received a bank wire transfer in the amount of $500,000 to your Citibank account #323-201175 from the Bohai Harvest Fund in Beijing. What’s was the purpose of this payment?”. Hilarity ensues.

            And can we stop already with this whole “Joe Biden” formulation anyway? When he was in The White House the top Obama staff were already on record making fun of his mental powers straight to his face, and that was before billions of his axons stopped sending electrical signals through to his dendrites. The set of geriatric holograms collectively referred to as “The Joe” are no more in charge than a bag of rocks, it’s racist egomaniac mandarins in Martha’s Vineyard and billionaire censorship monopolists in Mountain View forwarding the words that The Joe should teleprompt today.

            Oh, but I forgot, Trump Bad.

        1. Clem

          After four years of the mediocre Biden Harris administration and the
          Biden Depression, America will be ready to elect
          Josh Hawley 2024

          If you had wanted a true Democratic progressive elected in 2024, you would have needed to reelect Trump.

          The die is cast.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        You mean he should have been more like Nader? How far did Nader change the political conversation? Bernie didn’t think of himself as a savior, although many of his supporters did. His message was NOT ME, US.

          1. Pookah Harvey

            What is the best way to achieve change, savior hunting or supporting grass roots organizations? How does dissing Bernie or other progressives contribute to change and displacing establishment dems?

            1. Zagonostra

              Being critical, pointing out failures, and holding to account those failures is not dissing. It’s the prelude to bracing for the next iteration against that establishment that I think you can include Bernie as now being a full fledged member, one who covers the Left flank while the Right continues to make advances in the quest for ever more.

              1. juno mas

                Bernie was just a little before his time. M4A would have resonated more widely with the voters after experiencing the medical and financial impact of Covid.

                I’m disappointed with Bernie, also. But I came to realize he really is not “charismatic” enough for a majority of American voters.

                1. John k

                  If m4a didn’t resonate in the midst of a pandemic, when would it?
                  It certainly didn’t appear to be critical to the majority of dem primary voters that didn’t pick Bernie, even though a solid majority of dem voters say they want it.
                  Must be a lot of those wanting m4a didn’t vote… or that there are other, more important parameters that joe offers and that Bernie does not. Wonder what they are… maybe more wars? More smiles? Conservative policies? Granted, msm loves joe.

            2. Mel

              My favorite Eugene Debs quote:

              I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.

            3. ambrit

              Because by shilling for the Establishment Dems, Sanders has actually damaged the prospects of downstream ‘Progressive’ politicos.
              Never forget that the present day Democrat Party is neo-liberal to the core and ruthless in suppressing dissent.
              Personal honour be d—-d. Sanders, once the ‘Obama Night of the Long Knives’ happened should have withdrawn from any agreements he may have had with the Democrat Establishment. His usefulness as a progressive politician ended with the ‘Night of the Long Knives.’
              Enabling those who harm you is dysfunctional to the extreme.
              I’ll go further and suggest that Sanders change his motto from “Not Me, Us,” to simply “Us.”

              1. chuck roast

                Interesting that the payback for The Night of the Long Knives were supposed high positions for Booty and Amy in any Biden Administration. Now that the various Secretaries have been named we are moving into Assistant Secretary and Deputy Administrator territory. Not that these two snakes wouldn’t make admirable assistants and deputies, just that it appears that they may have knelt before The Sainted Obama without any promise of compensation. Man, that OBee has really got the aura, Dora.

                1. ambrit

                  Yeah. Even if you ‘play along’ with them, the Democrat Party elites will stab you in the back.
                  There’s that Russian phrase, “Not agreement capable.” It describes the Democrat party elites to a T.

              2. neo-realist

                More downstream progressives got elected to congress in spite of the reduction of dems in the house. I suspect Bernie’s candidacy and the horror of Trump’s administration has only fueled the fire for more progressive rumbling in future down ticket races.

          2. rtah100

            I hope it is not what we Rightpondians refer to as dogging. Not unless Bernie likes exhibitionist sex in what we appropriately call lay-bys and you call rest stops.

            Some times a sheepdog is just a sheepdog. Baaa!

            1. ambrit

              Oh, I most certainly do infer the ‘Sexual Spectacle’ aspect. Sanders looks to have developed a penchant for buggering progressives, with or without wool covers. The Circus Maximus ain’t got nothing on American Politics.
              I know I am being “too harsh” on the man, but I have to work out my rage at allowing myself to have been so thoroughly bamboozled twice by the man. Even if he did ‘fool himself’ the humiliation is too painful to ignore.
              This whole election cycle has poisoned the well for the ‘working class’ as far as the Democrat Party is concerned.
              America’s next competent demagogue is going to have a field day.

        1. Cuibono

          compare your personal contributions to the welfare of US society to Ralph Nader and get back to us will you?
          And how about Bernie: Name one politician who brought socialist ideas to life in the US in the last 20 years who can match him? Wellstone maybe..and we know what became of him.

          1. Yves Smith

            Ralph Nader contributed through his work on autos and creating Public Citizen. That was outside the electoral process. Asking Sanders to be Nader is like asking a fish to fly.

      3. Tangled up in Texas

        As a two-time supporter of Sanders, I have no intention of hitching my wagon to him a third time. With that said, I am not willing to totally dismiss him either. As disappointing as he was, we need all of the voices we can gather if we are ever to be heard…if there is ever to be change. Many areas where there is now vocal opposition to the status quo can be attributed to Bernie Sanders dragging them into the public discourse.

        I do not need to be in lockstep and agree with every position Sanders has taken in order to accept his support in the cause. I welcome Sanders’ support and his potential bully pulpit – especially since we share so many of the same values and vision for the future.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Several million disappointed SanderBackers can still have eachother if they can keep eachother. They could stay together and stay organized and still be a viable political survival movement.

        The millions of “small donors” who gave small repeat-doses of money to the Sanders campaign could give small repeat-doses of money to a strike fund for strikers in a key industry if such strikers were to emerge and clearly intended to carry the battle to the heart of the enemy.

        What if millions of small-donor SanderBackers saw an opportunity to pool small donations into an aimable stream of money to direct at various pro-green/ anti-fossil personal-assistance initiatives on the ground? For example, I read somewhere that a utility called Southern Power is uniquely committed to buying coal to burn in power plants. What if some of the people within the Southern Power footprint wanted to “go green”? If they had money, they could super-insulate their houses, super-efficientise their appliances, super solarize their own personal home-electricity production, etc. Several million small-donors could direct their donations toward helping those hostages of Southern Power who want to go green to actually be able to do so. Such money donation flows, properly directed and properly spent on physical go-greening (NOT on NGO grifter-feeding) could degrade and attrit Southern Power’s revenue streams, thereby degrading and attriting Southern Power’s ability to stream revenue to Big Coal.

        Perhaps the SanderBackers can become a mutual information-seeking/ information-sharing community.

        The SanderBackers could do many things, if they stay organized, together, and in steady touch with eachother.

    2. Pelham

      Your point about Biden is certainly worth drilling into everyone’s head. The intel outfits, the military and the legacy media are all thrilled with his election. Whether Biden has it within him personally to be authoritarian is not a relevant consideration. The backing of the blob is everything.

      As for the Trump years, a useful history would focus on his handful of efforts and initiatives that gratingly cut across the grain and how the blob responded. Trump’s tweets, the rallies and standard-issue Republican policies are secondary. Exploring the hot points of conflict generated by the rogue Trump within the executive branch would shed some needed light on what we as a badly ruled and virtually powerless people are up against.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        We have the power of distributed obstruction, if we care to understand that power. One hundred million little blue termites with their one hundred million pairs of little blue jaws could begin gnawing down and destroying certain key timbers and pit props of the Class Enemy Economy if they care to see themselves and eachother in that way.

      1. Winston Smith

        You just need the right passport…Vermont is actually the place to be if you can keep the riff raff out.

          1. timbers

            I’ll always remember the days of my youth hiking Vermont Green Mountains with my Labradors and gay boyfriend/partner, camping, driving who knows where and stopping in the middle of nowhere to get something to eat and watching masculine tattooed women flipping burgers as we drank our coffee. The Good Ole’days.

  3. upstater

    re. Southwest CEO: “You should fly”

    Airlines may “require” masks for passengers, but enforcement is a sad joke, if my flights to visit mom in September or to Aruba last week (they require a negative PCR test for admission) are any indication. Flight attendants allow unmasked passengers to nurse (apparently) empty Starbucks or McDonald’s cups for hours. And a lot of below the nose fakers get a pass.

    Even with my N95s (purchased long ago for home improvement projects), we don’t feel safe.

    I will NOT be flying again any time soon. May Hubert Horan’s predictions of industry restructuring take place and hopefully the 737maxs will remain parked in the desert.

        1. Hepativore

          Wait until they start requiring facial-recognition scans as part of a TSA security requirement which is probably on its way in the near future, public outcry and false positives be damned.

          Those lucrative security-theater contracts are not going to shill themselves.

    1. Isotope_C14

      I get this intense impression that there is something mentally wrong with most non-Asians, at least in respect to public health. All over Berlin, there is very-low mask compliance. Lots of “under the nose” mask scofflaws, and for the record looks absolutely terrible. Many convenient store clerks, supermarket clerks, just won’t wear the masks. Hardly anyone on the open streets wear masks. Plenty of bars have removed all their seating, so people stand outside the bar, quite close to each other mask-free drinking for hours.

      I don’t feel safe going anywhere here. Public transportation mandates mask wearing, but I’ve seen folks talking nice and loud on the train without masks. I am fortunate to be in walking distance to everything I could possibly need. I was forced to go to an unemployment office that required a train ride.

      I’m hoping that since I had a MMR booster over the last 10 years (for a job) that this is true:

      Japan’s public health awareness (Dr. John Campbell in both videos)


      1. grayslady

        I sympathize with how you must feel about local mask wearing. Where I live, I’m very fortunate that people take mask wearing seriously. Even dog walkers tend to wear a mask around their necks that they can pull up quickly, if required.

        The information provided by Dr. Campbell regarding the MMR vaccine was depressing to someone like me. I’m old enough that we all just acquired our immunity naturally–the only vaccine I remember receiving was for polio. As a child, everyone in my family but me succumbed to mumps all at once, so I must have some natural immunity. As for measles, I had an immunity blood test done last year with all the anti-vaxxers in the US making sure measles is a health concern again. After more than 60 years between getting the disease and now, my immunity was sky high (over 25 is considered immune; my number was 235!). I haven’t read the study Dr. Campbell is referring to yet, but perhaps the real issue is that those with natural immunity are so old that they have other underlying conditions that make them susceptible to Covid regardless of other immunities.

    2. Yves Smith

      Don’t generalize. I’ve flown on 12 Delta flights (2 connecting flights each way on 3 round trip) and Delta is tough on masks. They ask people to pull them over their noses.

    1. Samuel Conner

      and, perhaps, local fish-mongers. If they can’t export their
      catch to the EU, they could (I imagine; don’t know if logistics
      would be problematic) consume it internally.

        1. ambrit

          Given the probable food import supply chain breakdowns next year in England, those fishing communities would be best advised to adopt the formula for lutefisk and lay in stocks for winter 2021-2022.
          The Norse delicacy:
          I remember Mom making kippers for breakfast. I have always had a liking for smoky salty foods ever since. [I drink Lapsang Souchong tea when I can get it.]

    2. PlutoniumKun

      A friend of mine has been extolling the virtues of Findus crispy pancakes*, deep fried. He was brought up on them. I think they are going to make a return. Just with a more limited range of fillings.

      *for those who don’t know, they are the instant processed food from hell, the true depths of what the UK manufactured food industry can produce. They make twinkies look like gourmet health food.

      1. petal

        PK, had never heard of them before so I just looked them up. They look disgusting! Makes me feel a lot better about my current diet.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Biden’s spy chief promises to speak truth to power.

    American liberals suffer from brain rot.

    1. Wukchumni

      I for one am happy that for some unknown reason, team Biden has not picked Tim(babwe) Geithner for a cabinet position.

    2. Donald

      Probably obtained from enhanced interrogation.

      His national security team is almost laughably bad. Every war crime the US has committed in the past 20 years has its advocate.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Even if they weren’t awful, the idea of the spy chief speaking truth to power or the secretary of state being an inspiration as a working parent is representative of a deep intellectual and moral rot.

        1. hunkerdown

          You just have to find the framing in which their words are factually correct. Of course the intelligence chief is going to speak truth to power. In closed session. With eyes-only caveats.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      American liberals suffer from brain rot.

      No kidding. This part made me throw up a little –

      In her first public remarks since being tapped as Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence, Haines vowed to speak uncomfortable truths to her new boss that could lead to difficult conversations over the course of Biden administration — pledging to take a radically different approach to the political loyalists who occupied the job under President Donald Trump and often used their perch atop the intelligence community to do his political bidding.

      In what world were the spooks doing Trump’s bidding over the last four years?!?!?! Sure looked like they were doing everything they could to undermine every move he made from before he even took office. It takes a lot of willful ignorance to write that sentence above. Still trying to figure out why Flynn talking to a Russian ambassador during the ‘transition’ period was a crime but Biden’s people can talk freely to whomever they’d like and it’s no problemo for the spooks or the media. But we all know the media can’t be bothered to put anything in context and they simply pretend there is no history past the last five minutes while assuming the public won’t bother to double check.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        You answered your own question (i.e. “In what world were the spooks doing Trump’s bidding over the last four years?!?!?” ). Answer:
        “there is no history past the last five minutes”

  5. PlutoniumKun

    America and Britain are the Big Losers on the World Stage Patrick Coburn, Counterpunch

    I’m normally a fan of Coburn’s writing, but I think he’s got it wrong with this one. He gives WHO a major pass, while blaming the bad response in Europe and the US to a resistance to learning lessons from China. In reality, WHO had a major role in downplaying risks (whatever the reason for this, I think historians will spend a long time trying to work out), and this undoubtedly had a role in public health agencies being slow to realise just what was happening. It was WHO that said that stopping international travel and making mask wearing widespread was not necessary, even while the Chinese and other Asian nations were doing just that. The question is why the west focused on what was been ‘said’ and not what was been ‘done’ in China, ROK, Vietnam, Taiwan, etc. When you go back to February/March it was quite clearly public health officials, not politicians, who were most anxious not to ‘over react’. Lets not forget that it was Trump who wanted to stop all flights to China, and Fauci (and many other public health officials) who said it was unnecessary.

    As to his broader point however, there is no question I think but that Covid has seen a wider shift in the worlds power centre, with the US and UK being big losers. Certainly some Asian countries have had a ‘good’ epidemic (so far), but I think in the longer term, we can’t be sure if there has been a fundamental shift in trust, domestically and internationally.

    1. David

      I agree. Cockburn is very good on things he knows about, like the Middle East, but he’s recently taken to laying down the law on areas he knows much less about, as here. He’s also capable of writing non-sequiturs like:
      “China, notwithstanding the suppression of the Uighurs and democracy in Hong Kong, along with other east Asian countries, were succeeding in bringing the coronavirus epidemic under control.” Whose logic completely escapes me.
      But yes, the general point is at last partly valid: the US and Britain have not had a good Covid, and the disease has shone the light on the most glaring weaknesses of the two countries. But then I think we knew that.

    2. MarkT

      I have to take issue with “WHO … downplaying risks”. And being blamed for western governments failing to act quickly. I’m not on top of the WHO’s remit, but I doubt it involves telling member states what to do. Yet I have vivid memories of seeing the WHO head on TV nightly here in NZ urging governments around the world to act immediately and not dither about finding the right response. There was a mantra of “test test test” to locate and isolate cases. It was very apparent to me that there was a major pandemic developing long before most western governments started to do anything sensible.

  6. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Mooooorning Fiatnam!

    Our Covid tour of duty was fast approaching the one year point where we could thankfully fly back to the world, that is if there were airlines still willing to take us, and upon arrival be subjugated to spit tests by complete strangers, disgusted that we even attempted such folly.

    You wanted to get rid of your fatigues asap in such a scenario and don Dockers and a Polo shirt to better fit into society @ large.

    Some of course will have a hard time adjusting to polite society again, and will resort to acts of craven capitalism to approximate what they got used to in the fetid jungles of Fiatnam.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    China debt: Beijing may cut belt and road lending due to domestic pressure, to ensure future of project South China Morning Post.

    I think this is very important, particularly Pettis’s comment – in reality, China has been withdrawing rapidly from lending money, especially to South America. The BRI is widely misunderstood, especially those who see some sort of grand political strategy from China – in reality the ‘strategy’ is a post-hoc justification for a simple financial process which is inevitable given the Chinese economic model. Quite simply, they have too much capital to spend without any way of getting a proper return to it, and too much capacity that they can’t abandon without creating deflation.

    The BRI may fulfil some geopolitical objectives, but once the Chinese bankers learned the lesson that bankers elsewhere learned the hard way – i.e. there was a reason nobody was lending money for ports and railways, etc., in Central Asia and elsewhere – they would have to swallow big losses or look to the government to underwrite them. Xi will have to make a big decision at some time as to where money should be spent, and I doubt he’ll decide that building roads to nowhere thousands of miles from China is a good option.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Good Point PK; I saw it as money sucking PR when it began, and it followed that up for a while. But one thing that might play on their decision making is the consideration of empire. Rome built roads that allowed them to travel the legions when required. Not thousands of miles away, but relative to the limitations of transport in their time.
      One thing the BRI has going is that the road does go where it needs to go, and in a world changing depression it would be traveled by those that had the least because it was the cheapest way to trade. It corresponds to the ports of call so that integration of trains, roads and ships are doing so economically.
      Things change and I wonder if it was designed for an uncertain future.

    2. chuck roast

      That’s why god made military Keynesianism. What do you do when everybody owns a refrigerator? Well, you build a tank…or better yet…a submarine. A bazillion dollars deep sixed. Keep them ports and railway comin’.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Covid-19 roundup: Russia prices vaccine ‘two or more times cheaper’ than mRNA shots; Sinovac PhIII data expected in early December”

    I certainly hope that it is effective as the world needs as many working vaccines as possible. I doubt that we will be able to try it in the west as it is Russian so will probably be disallowed. The EU is saying that as they have not tested it nor developed it, they do not want to allow it but they also have no plans to test it themselves either. But that is OK. The west has used their financial muscle to grab as many dosses as possible for themselves leaving the other nations at the back of the line. But if those nations can use vaccines from Russia or China – assuming they are effective – then so much the better. Some of these new vaccines you are just not sure about. Especially with what happened with those teenagers at that High School in North America that were used as test subjects-

    1. Mikel

      I glad I’ve managed to save money and currently in a job that will have work from home policy continuing.
      If that changes, I will hold off accepting anything that would put me in danger.

      I’m still healthy enough to drive long distances and will prepare accordingly.

      Will be watching to see how this general population experiment goes.

      1. Lee

        Being of an age when things start to fall apart, I see a number of doctors regularly. Assuming they’ll be getting the jab soon, I’ll be monitoring them closely, at a distance of course, during our video visits.

        1. Mikel

          Good idea. Monitor the people we know who work at hospitals.

          And go long drugs that treat vaccine side effects….

  9. Lee

    I got a server error message when I tried to post this, so here goes again without linky commands, which might have been the problem:

    Happy Holidays, America.

    If you search on Google for “how many food insecure children in the u.s.” the top of page result is 1 in 6. According to PBS Newshour last night that number has increased to 1 in 4 and could rise from there (7 minutes).

    Nearly 7 million Americans at risk of eviction when moratoriums expire Dec. 31 CBS News

    The ongoing collapse of US health care The Hill

    There’s been much talk of late of America resuming its rightful place as leader of the free world. What utter, unmitigated bull shit. Where we’re headed, who would want to follow?

    1. Synoia

      Which will drive a huge crime wave, and drive the Biden Administration to become the most ruthless in history.

  10. russell1200

    I am sure this has been discussed, but I love the fact that we still have the Trump Transition category going here, while starting up the Biden Transition category.

    Shouldn’t the Biden category be titled something like “Biden Return to Status Quo”. That seems to be the point of the “America is Back”. No?

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Just saw where biden crossed the 80 million vote threshold.
        Quite remarkable eh?

        On a future Jeopardy show
        Ken, I’ll take politics for $1000, please.
        Name the only U.S. politician to lose to the donald?
        Who is ->her?

        1. ambrit

          Wrong framing. the question will be; Name the first US politician to lose to President For Life Trump.

      2. Louis Fyne

        But they will be diverse arsonists—Proving once again, that any woman or a fill-in-the-blank can be as self-dealing, power-hungry, incompetence as any white man!

    1. tegnost

      I keep finding myself coming back to bidens retort to bernie in the debate…
      “It’s America.”
      I’m sure the focus groups sweated over that one for weeks

    2. Milton

      Shouldn’t it be Biden/Harris transition? At least that is how the narrative matrix had been defining it.

  11. GayVeteran

    Regarding flying and the Southwest CEO: Sir you do a disservice to the entire world. From your position of extreme privilege (think Mr Kelley will wait in an ER for 19 hours to be seen by a physician or face a death panel triage for a ventilator?) you call for people to place themselves at extreme risk to preserve your job and wealth. I will not be flying and hope to see each and every one of these predatory airlines in bankruptcy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That Southwest CEO – Gary Kelly – almost certainly does not fly aboard one of his own aircraft but flies in a private jet in his own private bubble. And considering he is 65 years old and is in the high risk category for this virus, there is no way in hell that he ever would fly in one of his own planes.

    2. Carla

      “I will not be flying and hope to see each and every one of these predatory airlines in bankruptcy.”

      I’ll sign that petition.

    3. Ella

      Bingo. And they’ve dumbed down people enough so they will fall for this rhetoric.

      All while the powers that be would never ever fly on a commercial flight.

      You gotta have common sense and be smarter than them. Unfortunately I would guesstimate only about 10% of US population has any ability to think on their own.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      If Donald Trump had said this, the “media” would be hysterical with accusations of his “killing thousands of people” right now.

      Where is basement biden’s denunciation? Where is fauci? Where is that fool michael osterholm, biden adviser, who said some thing to the effect of “Love means not eating with or laughing with your loved ones at Thanksgiving?”

      Instead we get crickets. And I’ve no doubt that this is only the beginning.

  12. Wukchumni

    Bitcoin finally finds a rationale in doomsday scenarios FT

    I had a moment of cryptocurrency clarity a couple years ago in Mammoth, Ca.

    We’d had a wonderful 4 days of skiing and were blowing out of town, but not before getting lunch please.

    Next to the restaurant was one of those D-I-Y dog bath places, and in the front window was a sign that proclaimed ‘We Take Bitcoin’.

    Was the place a front for black web transactions involving hard drugs, underage carnal activity and illicit bazooka sales?

  13. Wukchumni

    YouTube temporarily suspends, demonetizes OANN Axios
    Had time to kill when under mandatory evacuation from the Castle fire, and watched more tv in 12 days than I normally do in a year.

    I got used to spinning the dial to OAN more out of curiosity than anything else, as it’s where Trump made his last stand, and a pathetic one at that.

    I tuned in yesterday, and they were quite adamant that because the President hadn’t conceded, in no way was it a done deal yet.

    1. ambrit

      I’m looking forward, (never backwards as per Saint ‘O’,) to next spring’s races at the Hippodrome. Will we have Blues versus Reds riots? [And, more importantly, will the Praetorian Guard defend the Empress Harris?]

      1. Wukchumni

        What happens to Trump’s Praytorian Guards when they are turfed out on the wicked streets of Humordor?

        1. ambrit

          Oh have no fear for them. They will find a warm welcome next door in Jokeistan.
          If a pronunciamento does not go over well at first blush, one can, per tradition, call in the “Re-Right Team.”

      2. td

        If it’s the Imperial Hippodrome, it’s Constantinople and the guards are the Scholae Palatinae, who replaced the Praetorians after they guessed wrong about Constantine. They will defend the Empress if sufficiently paid and not insulted, which would have been a problem for the outgoing Orange Emperor.

  14. Basil Pesto

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gareth Bale question use of images in Fifa 21

    This could get quite interesting

    Fifa 21 is the latest in an annual series of football (soccer) video games. It takes in hundreds of millions in sales revenue each year. The player likenesses (that is, the names, physical appearance and rough approximation of their attributes) contribute heavily to this; everyone wants to play as Ronaldo, not Rolando. On top of that, it has something called Ultimate Team, where you basically use digital trading cards to build a team of players. You can earn these packs for nothing by playing, but it’s much faster to buy them outright. Ultimate Team, across all of publisher Electronic Arts’ sports games (including NFL, NHL), earns over $1 billion in revenue p.a., of which Fifa earns the greatest share.

    (UT is controversial, as it’s considered by some as a form of gambling, and has in fact been outlawed as such in some European countries iirc. You can see videos of people opening UT packs on Youtube and going berserk when they get a Messi card, for instance)

    This is a very good story explaining the impact of the game series. It touches on player likenesses but the details remain opaque. Amusingly, and perhaps germane, they originally got the license to use the ‘FIFA’ organisation’s name for an absolute song because nobody knew back in 1993 what it could be worth. This is especially ironic when you consider how absolutely toxic the FIFA brand is beyond this one video game series (though it’s rehabilitated slightly since Blatter got the arse)

    Image Rights for football players are a complex web of contracts, but apparently the deal that licenses all the players likenesses is organised through FIFpro, which appears to be a federation of player unions around the world. But the players seem to have next to no engagement with FIFPro. There’s a follow the money question here: If FIFPro is paid by EA for the likenesses, how much, and how is that money distributed to the players by FIFPro.

    On the one hand, this is ostensibly a case of very wealthy people wanting more money, driven by football agents who are unquestionably wretched parasites, so it’s hard to know if they’re speaking in good faith. On the other hand, it could be the story of workers (albeit very well remunerated ones) being stiffed out of earnings that should be theirs by those claiming to represent their interests. I can’t speak to FIFPro’s transparency and general non-corruptness. As it stands, the battle lines appear to be drawn between the agents and the game publisher. In that SEC filing I linked to, EA views a threat to Ultimate Team (which loss of player
    likenesses would represent) as a disproportionate financial risk, so they’ll be very defensive.

    1. TsWkr

      As a FIFA mobile player and football fan, it’s interesting to note that there’s a rights issue already with the Italian powerhouse Juventus (Ronaldo’s team). They are referred to in the game as “Piedmonte”, but the players are all the same.

      What’s interesting too is that world football leagues are more associations of clubs rather than a cohesive organization like we have in the U.S. (the American league MLS was set up specifically as a “single-entity” with franchise investor-operators rather than owners). So, my understanding is the FIFA developers have had to engage with both leagues and teams to get the proper rights. With the way some of these contracts are negotiated, I imagine the rights to player likeness would to to the team, but maybe not always, and is that always transferable?

      1. Basil Pesto

        if I’m not mistaken, this is a consequence of the David and Goliath battle of Konami’s PES against FIFA. FIFA has often had whole league licenses, locking PES out meaning they have to use team names like Merseyside Res and Blue for Liverpool and Everton. But PES in the last 15 years have made plays for the licenses of specific, big clubs. They also had a Champions League license, meaning a game mode where all that year’s Champions’ League competitors appeared with their real names in a competition that reflected the structure
        of the actual CL, but I think that license has expired. Their individual club licenses only seem to last 1-3 years. Looks like they’ve gone for Juve this year, and an exclusivity deal at that, which must be why they appear as Piedimonte in Fifa. Conversely, EA seem to have a commercial partnership with Milan beyond the mere license (of the same kind as Nissin – Official Noodle Partner of Manchester United), a separate deal which means Ibrahimovic’s complaint, for this year at least, is groundless.

        Like I said, convoluted stuff. It’s still not clear to me how players are remunerated from the likeness licensing deal struck between EA and Fifpro, though.

        I’ve always enjoyed the curious irony of American professional sports being considerably more ~socialist~ in organisation than European football.

        1. John A

          In the meantime, arguably the greatest player of all time has died today, Diego Maradona. Sheer genius. And 15 years to the day since Ireland’s greatest player George Best died.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      On the very not-NC subject of football/soccer, its just been announced that Diego Maradona has died from a heart attack.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Three days of mourning in Argentina. He’s like a saint. Probably the greatest ever, though I’m partial to Cruyff. And the English talk about about the ‘hand of god’ but his second goal against them on that day in ’86 was worth three!

  15. Mikel

    RE: Side effects of Covid Vaccine

    I just shook my head when I read the woman warn: “People are going to need the day off after the first shot” and that either shot can leave you feeling sick. And nobody is still sure if the “vacinated” can spread the disease.

    This BS is shaping up to be essentially giving people Covid, providing short term “immunity”, and more money to pharma. It’s going to be like the flu, where they tell you to come buy that crap they are shooting into your arm EVERY YEAR.

    I call total BS.

    1. D. Fuller

      Test negative with Covid still raging means multiple testing rounds at taxpayer or insurance expense. Per person. Until one has it. Then a final test after you get it. Wait! Covid maybe, will be contracted more than once.


      The entire testing regime in the US was implemented by business “leaders”, lawyers, and compromised “health care” professionals. With perhaps four or five concerns:

      1. Protect profits
      2. Minimize profit loss
      3. Limit liability
      4. Crush competition
      5. Loot taxpayer money

      At least at the Federel level. As for the State level, your mileage may vary.

      From first exposure to waiting for my Covid results will now exceed the 14 day quarantine period.

        1. three eyed goddess

          furies: “The US literally worships Mammon”
          everybody always forgets to add: “and Moloch”

      1. Clem

        If the test isn’t free, then whatever it costs someone should be bottom line deductible from federal income taxes owed, or get a refund from the IRS if they owe zero taxes. Let the federal government put their (our) money where their mouth’s at.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          If the vaccine is any bother to get, we will not get near herd immunity.

          And if everyone needs a booster every two years it will probably take even longer to possibly stamp out Covid.

  16. David

    The Jacobin piece on the Arab Spring is (I’m tempted to say surprisingly) well worth reading. It makes a couple of very good points. One is the historic strength of the Left in many Arab countries, and the relative weakness until recently of political Islam. The other is that the revolutions were home-grown and that, in Syria, the resistance against Assad (including violent resistance) had been going on for some time before the West blundered in.

    On the other hand, the title (presumably added by an intern) is misleading because “failure” implies objectives, and the various groups in different countries had little in common except hasted of the regime and the desire to replace it. “Failure” in this sense really means the failure of the revolutions to conform to western liberal and leftist assumptions. But why was there no unity and why did the Islamists come out on top? In part, perhaps, because every other system had been exhausted. So territories that for hundreds or in some cases thousands, of years had been colonies suddenly became nation-states. Various models were tried – secular nation-state, command economy, military regime, multi-party system, neoliberalism – mostly in imitation of foreign models. All failed. The most unrealistic was pan-arabism, which assumed that people from Mauritania to Iraq were somehow united by the language of the Arab colonists: a bit like the British Commonwealth with its links of language and a superficial similarity of culture. In the end, the Islamists won because they were better organised, and because their ideology had not, at that stage, been tried, and so not had an opportunity to fail.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It is indeed good. What I find striking whenever I read histories or contemporary accounts from the Middle East or north-eastern parts of Africa from the mid-20th Century is how much more familiar a world it seems than the current situation. Back then, conflicts were the usual ones of middle-income post colonial countries of class conflicts, nationalism of various shades, and traditional economic and social interests, with an occasional sprinkle of ethnic conflict. Islamacism was scarely seen, even among the deeply devout and conservative. Many countries, from the Lebanon to Yemen, would have appeared entirely ‘modern’ to someone going back in time, much more so than now. Look at old photos of Beirut or Damascus or Yemen from the 1960’s and weep at how things have gone backwards. Colonialism, imperialism and the greed for oil have all been poisons which have done so much damage, but they aren’t the only reasons.

      Its not just of course neocons or liberals who get the region wrong – plenty of left wing sources regularly make fundamental errors in interpreting what is going on, both on a micro level and a big picture scale.

      1. flora

        Am I wrong in thinking the Saudi crown has financially supported and encouraged many of the political Islam groups for its own reasons? Those reasons could include fear of a strong working class or a strong left, fear of democratizing calls, fear of neighboring countries, etc.

        1. flora

          Even the US is supporting its own supposed political Islam movement ‘enemies’ as ‘allies’ in certain countries in the ME, and for its own reasons.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have also read that. The KSA spent billions of dollars exporting its Wahhabi Ku Klux Klanislam all over the Islamic world. The only way to put a definitive stop to that would be to exterminate the oil industry so comprehensively that even the Saudi branch of the oil industry would become worth zero dollars.

          The way to make KSA no longer a threat is to make KSA as poor as a South Sudanese refugee famine camp. Nothing else will work.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Of course one of the least secular regions of the world, where power is either in the hands of authoritarian statists, or religious ideologues, is not going to revolutionary-change into a Western Enlightenment-descendant political system.

      Doesn’t shock me that people in the disconnected NGO-Whitehall/Beltway-Ivory towers can’t see this.

  17. a different chris

    Hopefully the last thing I ever say about polls. Does anybody with two neurons to rub together believe this?

    “Trump’s Job Approval Rating Rises After Election Despite COVID Surge: Poll”

    And here’s the supposed “data”:

    The November poll was conducted online from a pool of 2,205 registered voters. October’s poll was garnered from a collection of 2,093 registered voters.

    Wow, represents 150 million voters pretty well, no? Um, no. Oh, and gets better:

    Poll results were weighted for factors such as age, gender, geographical region and political party.

    Weighted how? Why? Give me a break. And the most ridiculous thing is, if you poll the pollers and the people that regurgitate them they actually believe people’s opinions change month by month. All the thinking and researching (ok, this is America but let’s pretend) by the voters since say late summer where they were deciding who to vote for, but now three weeks after they voted they have done more research and have changed their minds?

    I more suspect they all went to the liquor cabinet and just started drinking, regardless of who they voted for.

    Ok, I’m gonna go now and write three lines of code and when my boss asks me where the other 5000 lines are I’ll point him to some polling methodology.

    1. ewmayer

      I was actually thinking to myself over the past several weeks that Trump’s approval might well be rising modestly based on all the positive news (leaving aside whether said optimism proves warranted) re. Covid-19 vaccines.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Has the Team Obama Always Wanted Foreign Policy.”

    ‘Read all the way to the end.’

    I see what Lambert means. The Democrats will have little chance of scoring any domestic victories due to the pandemic, especially since their track record for this year shows that they have little inclination to help most people anyway. And from next January, they get to own the pandemic and it will all be on them. No glory for them here.

    So the temptation will be to score some foreign victories instead and maybe bomb a country or two. Greedo from Venezuela has already said that he is still available. They may try to relieve the pressure on the Jihadists in Idlib in Syria. Or they could try to heat up the war in the Ukraine again or pressure Iran. Almost certainly they will push US navy ships into sensitive Russian and Chinese waters at an increased tempo. For a neocon, it is almost like a smorgasbord. Only thing is, the enemy gets a vote too.

    1. John A

      In addition to the John McCain encroaching Russian waters this week, the US has just fired test missiles from Romania into the Black Sea, not far from Crimea. Strangelove here we come

  19. Mikel

    RE: Joe Biden Is Filling His Cabinet With Pro War Hawks

    And now the question is how many deficit hawks he will cater to. It will be some for sure, but the number and their position will have aome effect.

    In essence, I smell austerity coming for longer than any aide. And prioritizing war was bound to come.

    1. farragut

      This was my initial thought as well. But then, realizing there are millions around the country seeking assistance from food banks (our own local county food bank has been swamped since summertime), and many millions more out of work, plus the selection of Yellen as Treasury Secretary, would imply to me Biden realizes he can’t be too stringent, unless he wants civil unrest during the first year of his tenure. I now think MMT & UBI will be the order of the day.

      Fun facts (I’d post graphs, but we can’t):
      – 21% of existing US dollars were created in 2020 alone, and
      – 75% of existing US money supply was created since 2008

      PS: gonna go out on a limb here and say you & I don’t own enough gold or bitcoin. >:-/

    1. Clem

      And yet the Jesuits, the largest slave owners in the world, think Brazil, Caribbean, Mexico, but not Kamala’s Jamaican ancestors, still get a tax break and are responsible for Gavin Newsom and his predecessor, Jerry Brown’s intellectual formation and college education.

      1. Ron Grissman

        As a Jesuit, currently we own no slaves, there might be others though. In past after the new world was discovered we set up to many what would be considered cooperatives. They were very successful and as no good deed goes unpunished we were ordered by the pope en mass to leave central & South America. The history is more complex but the society acted to protect first peoples however we could. Borgia was not a Jesuit.

  20. Mikel

    RE: Biden’s Pick For Spy Cheif…

    “Haines was sometimes summoned in the middle of the night to weigh in on whether a suspected terrorist could be lawfully incinerated by a drone strike.”….

    “But Prasow also praised Haines’ collegiality, saying she is “one of the nicest people I have ever met, and probably the nicest person I’ve ever met who worked for the US government…”

    Prasow is the deputy Washington director of Human Rights watch…LFOL!!!!!!!!

    This bat —- craziness is all over DC.
    We are supposed to believe these types, by extention, care about saving lives?

    I. Can. Not. Trust. Them.

  21. DJG

    With Blinken and Sullivan, article in Foreign Policy. Read through to the end.

    Yes, indeedy, you should read through to the end, wherein you will find that Blinken and Sullivan are “family.” As we all know, what matters in foreign policy is a family feeling, especially if one plans to foment civil war in Syria and uproot millions of families or cause a coup in Libya without planning for a future government so that the country is now the torture chamber and slave trader of Africa.

    Blinken’s velvety voice. Sheesh. Why don’t they have photos of Blinken and Sullivan with their shirts unbuttoned, tousled hair, and a devil-may-care look that will show us star-struck customers just how they plan to deal with nasties like Netanyahu, Erdogan, and the current Polish government?

    It may be that what has happened to the U S of A is that the elites have become terminally silly. Only a very rich and more-or-less stable country can afford stultified elites this incompetent. The question is: For how long?

    1. chuck roast

      Speakin’ oh Be-Be. Biden gets inaugurated on January 20. Be-Be flies into Bolling Air Force Base on the very same day to have Biden kiss-the-ring. At exactly what time does Be Be’s private jet touch down on the runway? Closest to the exact time gets a pint of Muscatel.

  22. CuriosityConcern

    Contact tracing Excel error – has anyone compiled a list of these excel max rows errors(and their effects)?
    I just had what I think is an original idea, whenever the last row of a spreadsheet has any cell filled, the whole UI should turn red…

    1. epynonymous

      I believe it’s been fixed for newer versions of excel, but newer versions of excel are still translatable to the old excel file format (.exl? idk.) So they presumably saved the new complete format into an old format, and then worked off that document for awhile, thus the problem.

  23. a different chris

    Re Notre Dame:

    Before removing the damaged tubes, they had to be enclosed in a new network of scaffolding to ensure they would not move. Another metal grid was then erected so that workers could be lowered by ropes to carefully cut the tubes apart.

    Haha I’m gonna finally write that sci-fi novel — in this future there will be like a 1 mile-on-a-side cube of scaffolding in Paris that everybody is busy maintaining but generations have gone by since anybody remembered what was in the middle of it all.

  24. Jim Hannan

    The money line from Monbiot’s piece:

    The persistent trick of modern politics – that appears to fool us repeatedly – is to disguise economic and political interests as cultural movements.

  25. Wukchumni

    Devil’s advocate dept:

    We’ll never know of course, but just how big of a beating would Bernie have endured going up against Trump if he was the given the nod, and not the shiv in the night of the long knives?

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Bernie’s time was 2016 and he would have beat trump like a rented mule.
      But it was ->her turn.
      The appeal wasn’t there in 2020, mainly because he licked the hand of the person who treated him like a rented mule.
      Now we get reagan v.8

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bernie wins every Hillary state plus Az, Wisc, Mich, PA. NC, GA, and Texas are debatable. Florida I suspect is out. This is the worst case. Too many people reliably vote. Most money spent on Presidential races is pissed away. Hahaha, remember how Trump was out of money. In the electoral college, he wasn’t far away from actually winning.

      Maine and North Carolina are Senate pickups. The House thrashing doesn’t happen. Though certain ones still get the axe. There might be pick ups, but I think the lack of a viable long term strategy beyond “moderate Republicans” in 2018 will blunt too many wins.

      Iowa is a wild card because its relatively small. It could swing with the right effort. My guess is resources go there and into NC. Georgia being the homespun effort is likely close too, but I don’t know how close. Maybe its enough. Its worth major investment.

      My guess is SC Senate race never gets much in the way of press. State legislature races aren’t a disaster, but Amy McGrath probably spends half a billion and loses by over 20 points.

    3. neo-realist

      Bernie wouldn’t have received the carte blanche treatment from corporate media as Biden did. The dangers of “Socialism” would have been brayed 24/7 on right wing talk radio and the cable news networks, particularly the democrat establishment friendly MSNBC. Fraudulent warnings of 80% taxation to pay for M4A would be prevalent. The manufactured consent would have driven away the establishment dems and independents and would have left Bernie with only die hard lefties to help him win in the general election.

      Socialist policies framed as FDR new deal 2.0 w/o the S party label and a stronger countervailing media narrative on progressive policies may help future candidates win on a national level.

  26. hunkerdown

    Looks like our Bible-lugging girl in Bolivia tried and failed to make a run for the border earlier this week. Google translated from español, don’t mind the botched pronouns:

    A representative of social organizations in the department of Beni, in northern Bolivia, announced that they prevented Áñez from boarding a plane at the Jorge Henrich Arauz airport in the city of Trinidad, when he was trying to go to a border city and then go to Brazil, an act that they considered was the flight of the former ruler.

    “We cornered him when he was escaping to Brazil. We arrested her and she is locked up in an apartment and now she must respond to the massacres in Senkata and Sacaba, ”said the spokesperson, who is not identified in the video circulating on social networks.

  27. Wukchumni

    How climate change, lack of insurance, push farmers out of agribusiness The Rappler
    They also just lost their biggest market, free money from the President.

  28. Mikel

    RE: The New Money Trust…

    I was just pondering how the finance sector has been cannibalizing the economy for decades and all the drag and rot is about to be blamed on Covid.

  29. flora

    re:Democrats in Disarray

    Matt Taibbi’s latest (paywall) is on point:

    For What Are America’s Wealthy Thankful? A Worsening Culture War

    When leaders run out of unifying myths, division is the last currency. Why this Thanksgiving, America is a “death cult” versus “radical socialists”

    shorter: both parties are egging on culture war memes instead of addresses growing needs of the 99%. The rich donors long ago stopped having a stake in the country’s future.

    Eight years ago TAC wrote “The Revolt of the Rich”.

    Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?

    Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless.

    The donors and their media wings are happy to pit one-half of the country against the other half.

    From Taibbi’s article:
    Those [Sanders and Trump populist] movements failed, for different reasons, and we’re now back to corporate-sponsored tales of half against half. What’s always forgotten is who’s paying for these messages. We have two donor-fattened parties that across decades of incompetence have each run out of convincing pitches for how to improve the lives of ordinary people. So they’ve settled into a new propaganda line that blames voters for their problems, with each party directing its base to demonize the other’s followers. Essentially, in the wake of Trump, the political class is accepting the inevitability of culture war, and urging it on, as something preferable to populist revolt.

    If you thought the media insanity of the last 4 years is about to settle down, now that the election is over, the major parties’ donors intend to keep the culture war insanity going – for their benefit.

    1. TomFinn

      Flora, Agreed! I’ve been saying the oligarchs and their MSM mouthpieces have been fomenting civil war, which the .01% can survive with off shored wealth in tact, rather than the socio-economic revolution (hopefully fairly bloodless) which this Country/World could use.
      The ray of light I saw though was this “Great Reset” which I finally googled to see what it was. An article siting John Kerry’s stating that it might be necessary in order to address rising populism would be just the move to instigate such a pushback as to catalyze revolution.

    2. Ron Grissman

      There isn’t any ‘culture war’ per de, it is a reality war. Whether it’s two groups of populist or more doesn’t matter, what is important to existing ‘groups’ is what importance they place on what things. What some call a Criteria of Reality. How we speak point in fact reflects what we believe and among those holding different beliefs we are simply passing one another in the night. No one hears much less understands the ‘other’. In fact I’d say the very way liberal Democrats speak, annoys about 85% of the country. This doesn’t take a genius to say – doesn’t bode well for America.

      I wonder if Democrats & Republicans are simply two firms used by the PCM, on behalf of the oligarchs, why is any time spent doing comparing and contrasting them. I’d rather we focus on our problems and solutions. I suspect this will get things pretty heated pretty fast, which is what we need. We don’t have much time. For my inclination we are far to passive. We comment on what we don’t like. On what might happen. Very little on what to do about it. Without ‘we the people’ injecting serious energy to first destabilize the existing system (capitalism v. Democracy) and reorder it, what we will get is chaos.

    1. ambrit

      Well, if you had been trying to obtain any physical silver in today’s market, you would understand that it is now being sold by ‘wait.’

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        with the windfall from Dad’s life insurance, I attempted to obtain a sack of “junk silver” to bury under the porch.
        all the gold/silver ‘dealers” i called within 100 miles of this far place were mainly interested in buying the stuff…not selling it….and when they did have something to sell besides “collectables”, it was a pretty bit of cardstock entitling me to presumably actually existing specie in a vault somewhere.
        of course, i don’t really speak Goldbug…especially the rural texas dialect.
        the couple of places nearest to me, that i visited in person….they looked at me quizzically when i said “junk silver”.*

        as it stands, i’ll stick to the already extant stores of black pepper, bic lighters, matches and salt…secreted in nooks and crannies throughout our Hermit Kingdom.
        (and lots and lots and lots of saved seeds—as well as the knowledge contained in my noggin regarding how to get by in dire straights, as if it were 1865, or so)

        *-perhaps interestingly…and since its on my mind since we just drove past a bunch of feedlots, auction barns and horse stables….i get the same sort of reaction when i call around looking for manure.
        you might guess that an actual horseracing track would know what horse manure is, and what their procedures are to deal with the mountains of it they produce.
        same with feedlots, and all the rest.
        but this is, apparently, not the case.
        this mystifies me greatly.
        back home in east texas, the operators of stables were always more than happy when i would just show up with a trailer to haul the stuff off.
        now, it’s like they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that they generate tons of it.(end tangential rant….for now…)

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m no argent provocateur, but am somewhat shocked that nobody in your neck of the woods had junk silver, and it’s been called by that moniker for 30 or 40 years-so it isn’t a newfangled sort of term.

          Maybe it’s all going into the production of silver bullets to ward off vampires, zombies, et al?

          1. ambrit

            You may not be an argent provocateur, but you are a ‘silver tongued devil.’
            There is no ‘junk silver’ to be had here in the NADS either.
            Lycanthrophobes around here have been forced to deploy silver plated bullets of late. It may not kill them, but it does give them a nice appearance of quietude.

            1. Wukchumni

              I am very far removed from the scene, and was talking to a friend who is 66 that started in his late teens in the aged round metal disc business, and he related that aside from bullion oriented stuff, the coin biz on the numismatic side more closely resembles the stamp business, which up and died a long time ago. Just about every brand new-never used US stamp is worth merely the face value from around 1935 onwards.

                1. Wukchumni

                  When I was a kid, it was pretty common to see establishments that dealt in both coins & stamps, but then the latter faded away to the point where there might be a dozen or so retail stamp stores in the country. It’s a dying hobby.

                  Generally philatelists tend to be baby sitters for older never married men who paw through endless albums of used stamps @ a Nickel a throw with tweezers and 3 hours later fish out $2.45 worth and ask the proprietor if $2 will work?

                2. Big Tap

                  Spoiler Alert. Don’t read beyond this point if you haven’t seen the movie. One of the best suspense movies made was Stanley Donen’s “Charade” (1963). A major part of the plot was stamps. l’ll leave it at that.

        2. foghorn longhorn

          Get your own horse amfortas eliminate the middle man.
          Amazing how much poop one horse can generate.
          Same with chickens

        3. ambrit

          I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here, specifically in the New Orleans metro area, the racetracks have, or had, I’m not sure about now, contracts with a company that used the manure collected from the equine palaces and mixed it with compost of various sorts and then aged it in giant piles, and after cooking the proper length of time, the resultant “brown gold” was bagged up and sold as soil additives through various retail outlets.
          (I’m practicing for the Faulkner Prize.)

  30. Fastball

    I didn’t much like the NY review piece; couldn’t read it to the end, but it reminded me of so much authoritarianism coming from my Democratic friends and acquaintances. They feel they have moral high ground that just doesn’t exist. They aren’t our betters and pretending to be so is offensive. They don’t even look at their OWN politicians. AND there is the real world danger when they try to censor everyone but themselves.

    I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican and I despise Trump, but, hell, this strain of morally preening Democrat (and I’m not saying even most Dems are like this) offends even me. The Democratic Party authoritarianism is heavily disliked. And they are a minority of the country.

  31. Mikel

    RE: Brexit /Civil War of capitalism…Guardian


    Where was this type of analysis the last few years???
    More like a civil war among capitalists.

  32. Mike

    “A Long-Forgotten CIA Document From WikiLeaks Sheds Critical Light on Today’s U.S. Politics and Wars”

    I guess Glenn is too young to remember the Pentagon Papers – different agency, maybe, but the same methods and desired outcome.

  33. Cuibono

    AstraZeneca probes ‘mistake’ behind 90% COVID-19 vaccine efficacy Fierce Biotech. So they gave 2,741 test subjects the wrong dose. That’s not a good look.”

    Did they really mess this up? If so, what else did they mess up?
    If not, what might that say?

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